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Historicist Analysis of Christopher Marlowes The Passionate Shepherd to His Love - Essay Example

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The posthumously published poem of Christopher Marlowe, “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,” was actually more than just a shepherd proposing to his lover. It was a reflection of the turbulent and materialistic times of 16th century England…
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Historicist Analysis of Christopher Marlowes The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Download file to see previous pages... The poem or the song was written during the time when the art focused on the idea of idyllic country settings, where shepherds were love-sick and obsessed with their lovers. It was also the time when musical composers and artists praised the country settings and consider them their usual subject (“Christopher Marlowe”). However, although this is the realistic element in the poem, some lines in the poem are obviously a product of the shepherd’s rich and love-filled imagination. For example, in the line where he wants to give his lover “A gown made of the finest wool” (13) and slippers “With buckles of the purest gold” (16), the shepherd is obviously only imagining giving these very expensive presents to his lover. Nevertheless, although he cannot possibly afford it, he tells her about it as a proof of the greatness and sincerity of his love for her. Moreover, the phrases “finest wool” and “purest gold” may actually represent the purity of the shepherd’s intent and love for his lover. It would then be interesting to think that the Elizabethan era during the late 16th century and the early 17th century was actually a time when lovers were sincere about their proposals of love.
According to information from the Norton Anthology of Poetry, the life of Christopher Marlowe was actually not the same as the bucolic peacefulness of “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.” Despite the tranquil rural setting of the poem, Marlowe was a rather energetic spy and entrepreneur of his time. The modern-day market during the commercial revolution during his time was also far from the ideally simple life of the shepherd in his poem, for Marlowe desired fortune during his time. Moreover, there was also disease, crime and violence during his time in England – which are actually elements that are entirely in contrast with the calmness and tranquility of the mood in the poem. In fact, according to the Norton Anthology of Poetry, Marlowe was involved in a number of controversies and his life was reflective of the urban violence during his time. In 1589 he was involved in a brawl that brought him to hail. In 1591, he was accused of atheism and treason, which were heavy crimes during those times. On Ma 18, 1593, he was arrested for blasphemy although these were merely allegations, for which a trial began on May 20. However, in 1593, on May 30, at the age of 29, he was stabbed with a dagger but the motives were unconfirmed whether this was related to his arrest or if it was the killer’s personal vendetta against Marlowe’s atheism and epicurean lifestyle (“Biography”). During the time that Marlowe wrote “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,” it was the year 1593, the pastoral genre of poetry gained popularity, although the poem was posthumously published in 1599. The shepherd poet became a regular symbol of romance, pastoral text and erotic love. Particularly, in Marlowe’s poem, there is simplicity of language pertaining particularly to the use of vernacular. It therefore shows charm and wit without pomposity or pretention. It is the reflection of courtly love without the trappings of metaphors as well as other elitist and artificial elements (Zlateva 126). In short, the poem shows utmost simplicity. However, such simplicity even reflects in the trip around the countryside of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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